Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday stated that the Supreme Court order directing the government to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees in Arunachal Pradesh is not implementable. Rijiju’s comment came a week after Union Home Ministry cleared the decks for citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees of East Pakistan origin on the basis of the Supreme Court directive.
Rijiju had earlier said that the Centre will urge the Supreme Court to modify its order of granting citizenship to the Hajong and Chakma refugees and ensure that the rights of the native Arunachali people are not undermined.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu has also opposed the idea of granting citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees who migrated to India from the erstwhile East Pakistan about five decades back. The CM apprehends that citizenship status to the refugees shall alter the demography of the state.
“As mentioned by me in our meeting recently, I reiterate that the people of my state are not ready to accept any infringement on the constitutional protection bestowed on the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh and want to ensure that the ethnic composition and the special rights enjoyed by the tribes of my state are safeguarded at all cost,” Khandu had said in a letter to Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh.
The Arunachal student unions have also expressed dissatisfaction over the decision to grant citizenship to the refugees. “The Centre’s reported decision to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees in our state is very unfortunate. It amounts to treating the indigenous people of a strategic frontier state as second class citizens of the country,” All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) general secretary Tobom Dai had said.
Chakmas and Hajongs were originally inhabitants of Chittagong Hill Tracts, which at present is in Bangladesh, who migrated to India through the Lushai Hill district of Assam, an area that is presently in Mizoram.
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